Government asks automakers to begin manufacturing of flex-fuel vehicles in 6 months
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has confirmed that the government has directed automakers to begin manufacturing flex-fuel vehicles and hybrid flex-fuel vehicles within the next six months. These vehicles will comply with BS6 norms and will be capable of running on either petrol or 100 per cent bio-ethanol and its blends.
Flex-fuel vehicle advantages
Gadkari said this move will help reduce India's greenhouse gas emissions drastically, especially across the entire usage cycle of petrol and diesel. The reduction in emissions will help India comply with its commitments made at COP26 of reducing carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030. The government is yet to release a more detailed set of regulations on these vehicles, which should specify the ratio of biofuels to be used and if any subsidies or rebates are applicable to such vehicles.
Image source: afdc.energy.gov
While automakers will need to invest in upgrading components to handle the new fuel type, flex-fuels offer some distinct advantages especially in a market like India that imports 80 per cent of its fuel needs. Ethanol is renewable and easily available as a by-product of agriculture which should offer another income source for farmers. The fuel is eco-friendly, renewable and will ease the heavy expenditure on petroleum products that India has had to traditionally deal with over the years. However, the fuel needs to be made available easily for it to fully catch on with the car-buying public.
Flex-fuel vehicle working
A flex-fuel vehicle's mechanical components are largely identical to that of a standard combustion engine. Although, some components in the fuel delivery system like the fuel pump and fuel injection system are modified to accommodate the different chemical properties and oxygen content of ethanol. The vehicle is also given some ECU tweaks to handle the different fuel. Flex-fuel vehicles are popular in South American markets such as Brazil and in Europe.
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